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Article
Acute stress dysregulates the LPP ERP response to emotional pictures and impairs sustained attention: Time-sensitive effects
Brain Sciences
  • Rima A. Alomari, Nova Southeastern University
  • Mercedez Fernandez, Nova Southeastern University
  • Jonathan Banks
  • J Acosta, Nova Southeastern University
  • Jaime L. Tartar, Nova Southeastern University
Document Type
Article
Publication Date
1-1-2015
Keywords
  • ERP,
  • acute stress,
  • emotion,
  • late positive potential,
  • sustained attention
Disciplines
Peer Reviewed
1
Abstract

Stress can increase emotional vigilance at the cost of a decrease in attention towards non-emotional stimuli. However, the time-dependent effects of acute stress on emotion processing are uncertain. We tested the effects of acute stress on subsequent emotion processing up to 40 min following an acute stressor. Our measure of emotion processing was the late positive potential (LPP) component of the visual event-related potential (ERP), and our measure of non-emotional attention was the sustained attention to response task (SART). We also measured cortisol levels before and after the socially evaluated cold pressor test (SECPT) induction. We found that the effects of stress on the LPP ERP emotion measure were time sensitive. Specifically, the LPP ERP was only altered in the late time-point (30–40 min post-stress) when cortisol was at its highest level. Here, the LPP no longer discriminated between the emotional and non-emotional picture categories, most likely because neutral pictures were perceived as emotional. Moreover, compared to the non-stress condition, the stress-condition showed impaired performance on the SART. Our results support the idea that a limit in attention resources after an emotional stressor is associated with the brain incorrectly processing non-emotional stimuli as emotional and interferes with sustained attention.

DOI
10.3390/brainsci5020201
Citation Information
Rima A. Alomari, Mercedez Fernandez, Jonathan Banks, J Acosta, et al.. "Acute stress dysregulates the LPP ERP response to emotional pictures and impairs sustained attention: Time-sensitive effects" Brain Sciences Vol. 5 Iss. 2 (2015) p. 201 - 219 ISSN: 2076-3425
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/jaime-tartar/4/